How to Measure Abandonment Rate and Why it Matters

April 16, 2021

Abandoned call rate is one of the typical customer service KPIs – essential to better understand how well your agents and the system can handle voice communication. However, this metric is a lot more complex than it seems. Let us help you with a short guide on why abandonment rate matters, how to measure it, and what you can do to improve it.

What is abandoned call rate?

Abandoned call rate measures how many people dialing your call center disconnect or hang up before being connected to an agent. Although this is typically calculated as an efficiency metric, it is also closely related to brand loyalty, as it shows how many customers are frustrated with the company’s customer service to hang up before an agent can help them.

Why does it matter?

Your contact center abandonment rate is not a stand-alone KPI. A high abandonment rate can indicate multiple, complex issues with your operation, such as bad call resolution rates. Additionally, complex IVR flows or the lack of effective call routing can also lead to a high abandonment rate. Therefore, examining areas of your operation where you consistently produce a high abandonment rate can help address some of your key customer service issues.

How to measure it and what to look out for?

Once you decide to measure your contact center’s abandonment rate, you need to select the timeframe of your operations that you want to measure. Then, divide the number of abandoned calls by the total number of calls within your chosen timeframe. So, if you have 100 calls and 93 are answered, your abandoned call rate will be 7%.

It is important to mention that there are certain types of unanswered calls that should be excluded when measuring your abandonment rate. These are wrong numbers and misdials. In order to exclude these cases, calls disconnected within five seconds are usually not counted when measuring this KPI.

The industry standards for abandonment rates are between 2 and 5 percent. If this number goes above 5 percent, you need to reconsider the effectiveness of your contact center.

How to reduce it?

There are multiple tactics that you can use to start reducing your abandonment rate, starting with call routing. Call routing can help you route calls to the most appropriate agents based on algorithms powered by the callers’ data, agent skills, IVR options, and predefined business rules. With call routing, you can expect your call resolution to increase, freeing up valuable agent time and busy lines, therefore, lowering your abandonment rate.

Additionally, simply understanding when your peak times are and maintaining extra staff during these periods can considerably help reduce your abandonment rate.

Reviewing your IVR navigation as well as improving your IVR messages can also help. You can expect your customers to abandon a call if they hear annoying robotic sounds on a loop or if your IVR navigation is long and complicated. Finally, offering in-queue call-back options can also help when you are dealing with irregular peak times.

Getting to know the reasons behind a potentially high abandonment rate can lay the foundation for a sustainable and effective contact center operation. By understanding when, how, and why your customers decide to abandon a call, you can start rebuilding your relationship with them on a stronger foundation.

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